Last Tuesday, we headed over to the Paradise Rock Club in Boston to catch introspective Brit Laura Marling, with Valley Queen as her opener. Valley Queen, based in L.A., was something of a shocker: vocals that remind us of Lady Lamb and arrangements that feel vaguely like art-rock, a good complement to Marling. Here are two of the quartet:

Natalie Carol (changing chords) and Neil Wogensen (already set with his chords). All photos (C) Matthew Keefer.


We aren’t going to say they are a perfect band – Wogensen hit some “juicy notes” on bass (that is to say, we prefer our notes a bit more dry, *ahem*) and Carol doesn’t have the power female voice that always seems to take us away. But we found ourselves abiding by Duke Ellington’s measure of good music: we were tapping our toes. And on the whole, the foursome was fearsome Tuesday night, and the crowd appreciated them.

Here’s one of guitarist Shawn Morones:

Beast Mode: Morones turning into part-guitar.


We found we appreciated Morones, and Valley Queen as a whole.


And we’d have to be honest – Laura Marling isn’t one of those power-vocal ladies, either. But we LOVE her songwriting, and last Tuesday at the Paradise, we were introduced to several rockin’ songs in her repertoire. Marling, of course, started off with about half of her latest album, Semper Femina, which we reviewed here. Not being familiar with the rest of Marling’s discography, her latest album was the reason we snagged a ticket for this night; but that said, we found ourselves enjoying her performing her older songs even more. Here is Marling in a lovely flower dress (mics garlanded with fake flowers):

Darling Miss Marling at work.


We loved that she brought along a small chorus, two back-up singers who fit perfectly in with Marling’s voice. Marling’s sextet played Townes Van Zandt, even, but our favorite was an old one new to our ears: “How Can I.” It was the rocker of the night, we felt. Despite that, Marling seemed a bit out of place: her demeanor was perhaps more absorbed by her band than the audience; Marling kept her attention just above the crowd. (“It’s because she’s an angel,” said SerenaSawThat.) Even though Marling wore what looked like tan bath slippers (they looked comfy, at least), she was certainly in her element on stage, engaging her fellow band-mates in a cute game of trivia-sharing. The music was solid, the artistry apparent, and Marling marvelous; we had a pleasurable time, and hope you find her on your stage soon.

Further touring here:

Marling taking a breath between notes.



  1. This is one of the most misogynistic reviews I’ve read recently. You spend more time talking about Laura’s outfit and angelic appearance than her voice or the songwriting you claim to love. Where is the talk about her process, her artistry? I bet you actually thought you were giving her a nice review. Wow.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the comment , Jez.

      To be fair, this is a concert review; process is best in an interview, where I can actually ask that question. Artistry… I’m guessing you mean: instrumentation / performance (including emoting), songwriting to some extent (best approached in album reviews / interviews), etc. She was good, solid, but I’d refrain from saying brilliant live, except perhaps in moments. Mostly taking performance into account.

      Thanks for your observations as well!

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